Beam me up, Scotty, it’s NYE

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By RACHELLE CHAP­MAN

THOU­SANDS of partiers will need to be trans­ported to and from the Townsville CBD and Thuringowa River­way precinct to­mor­row night.

Townsville Taxis, Sun­bus and other trans­port com­pa­nies will pull out all the stops in a bid to en­sure a smooth night, but rev­ellers have been urged to plan ahead and ex­pect to wait.

Townsville Taxis gen­eral man­ager John Lob­wein said up to 15,000 peo­ple would be trans­ported by taxi be­tween 6pm and 6am dur­ing New Year cel­e­bra­tions.

And waits — pos­si­bly up to two hours in some cases — and long queues were sim­ply un­avoid­able, he said.

But Mr Lob­wein said he wasn’t ex­pect­ing this year’s cel­e­bra­tions to be as busy as last year, given it fell on a Sun­day night.

‘‘Peo­ple are much more or­gan­ised when its a week­end be­cause they have all day to get ready, he said.

Pre-or­der­ing a taxi was a good idea, said Mr Lob­wein. Those who didn’t pre-or­der should be ready to leave when they call the taxi so the driver didn’t have a frus­trat­ing wait out­side.

And don’t ex­pect the tele­phone op­er­a­tors to know how long your cab would take, Mr Lob­wein said.

Mr Lob­wein said peo­ple should not call the taxi com­pany af­ter mid­night.

All rev­ellers will be di­rected to the taxi rank on Flin­ders Street East, the Seav­iew and Jupiters Casino.

Se­cu­rity will be stepped up at the ranks, Mr Lob­wein said. ‘‘We’ll have two su­per­vi­sors at the Flin­ders Street East rank and a se­cu­rity guard, and two guys at the Seav­iew, he said.

‘‘Our goal is al­ways to keep the wait in the queues down to 40 min­utes. I don’t think it will be any worse than those busy week­ends in De­cem­ber.’’

Those liv­ing in the ex­treme out­ly­ing ar­eas of Townsville and Thuringowa should pre­book and be pre­pared to leave as early as pos­si­ble to avoid h o u r - l o n g d e l a y s , Mr Lob­wein said.

Sun­bus man­ager John Gra­ham said the CBD and River­way would be the fo­cus of ex­tra bus ser­vices on Sun­day night and into the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing.

Mr Gra­ham said the ad­di­tional bus ser­vices would be op­er­ate sim­i­larly to the ex­tra ser­vices the com­pany had put on this month to cope with the pre-Christ­mas crowds.

‘‘We are be­ing a lit­tle more flexible this year, he said.

Mr Gra­ham said for the first time a con­troller would be based on buses and would be able to di­rect the ve­hi­cles to the ar­eas where there was the most de­mand.

‘‘It is cer­tainly one of our big­ger nights of the year, he said.

Buses will leave Stock­land and travel into town ev­ery 15 min­utes, drop­ping off out­side the Cow­boys Leagues Club in Stokes Street, on Flin­ders Street East and out­side Jupiters Casino.

Pick up points will be on Flin­ders Street East in front of the old Ferry ter­mi­nal and at Jupiters Casino.

Mr Gra­ham said the nor­mal Sun­day bus ser­vice would ser­vice The Strand.

Ser­vices will run from K e l s o , C o n d o n a n d R a s m u s s e n a r e a s t o River­way un­til 10pm and will kick off from River­way to the sub­urbs at mid­night.

Sun­bus will also take River­way rev­ellers to Kirwan and into the CBD be­tween mid­night and 1pm.

A bus from the city to Up­per Ross will cost $7, with most other bus ser­vices to cost $5. Aca­cia Lim­ou­sines owner Lil­lian Doyle said plenty of peo­ple were opt­ing to travel in style this New Year.

She said she ex­pected the limou­sine ser­vice would be al­most booked by to­mor­row.

She said the pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling via limo could be sure their ve­hi­cle would pick them up and drop them home when they or­dered it.

Up to seven peo­ple can fit into a limou­sine, with rev­ellers able to sit back with a glass of cham­pagne (BYO) and let some­one else worry about the driv­ing.

Photo:KELLYNEDBBP01820

WAYTO GO . . . Aca­cia Lim­ou­sines’ Lil­lian Doyle with clients Michael, Mel and Paul Kes­lake

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